Thursday, April 17, 2014

Woman continued false sexual assault claim even when CCTV contradicted statement to police

As reported here.

An innocent man spent 12 hours in custody after being falsely accused of sexually assaulting a young mum.

Joanna Robertson also cost police 69 man hours — at least £1,380 — investigating the complaint that the man had stalked her and forcefully touched her, Dundee Sheriff Court heard.

Robertson, 25, of Leith Walk, pleaded guilty to a charge of wasting police time on July 6 last year.

After admitting she had made up the sex attack, Sheriff Richard McFarlane deferred sentence for reports and granted her bail.

The court heard Robertson went to police HQ in Dundee and claimed she had been stalked through the city centre before being pushed against a wall and attacked.

She said the man had tried to strike up a conversation with her outside a bank before following her into Coutties Wynd, off Nethergate.

Robertson claimed he had forced her against a wall between two wheelie bins before touching her private parts over her tights then attempted to further assault her.

But when police carried out a CCTV review they found her story did not add up.

However, when police re-interviewed her she was “adamant” that it was true. When the inconsistencies were put to her she then demanded her clothes back and said she did not want any more police involvement.

Depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson told the court the cost of the investigation to the police was at least £1,380, although she added that the overall figure would have been much higher as fees for a doctor who examined Robertson and an interpreter who appeared and assisted the accused man had not been factored into that amount.

She said: “As a result of the allegation (the man) was detained by police for 12 hours and was also interviewed with the assistance of an interpreter.

“An extensive CCTV review was carried out following the accused’s allegation which quite simply showed that what she was telling police did not add up and actions were shown which showed the contrary and that the complainer had not entered the area of the alleged locus.

“In addition to being detained and interviewed the complainer had DNA taken and was medically examined by a doctor.

“She was asked to give her version again and confirmed her position as it had been previously.

“The total police hours spent investigating this was 69 hours at a cost of £1,380 which doesn’t include the doctor or interpreter.”

Solicitor Kevin Hampton said: “There’s a lot going on in her life and she has recently separated from her partner.

“I’d ask for background reports to be prepared.”

Sheriff McFarlane deferred sentence until April 24 for social work reports.